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Fasting Day IV: Freedom from the Stomach God

January 10, 2013

Today is day IV of our 2013 week of prayer, fasting, and consecration. I have heard it said that after the third day you don’t feel hunger pangs. Not true. But we press on.

Powerful prayer meetings yesterday at the Every Nation Churches North American office (9am & 4pm), at Bethel Brentwood (noon), and at Bethel Franklin (7pm). Special thanks to my friends John Rohrer and Bruce Fidler for ministering at Bethel Franklin last night.

Here’s another vintage fasting blog I dug from deep in the archives…

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“I’ve been set free! This book has set me free!”

This was the first sign of life Roberto had shown since our pastor had encouraged our church to join the multi-denominational nation-wide three days of prayer and fasting for the upcoming 1980 elections. He enthusiastically waved a small book above his head: “Steve, you have to read this book! It set me free!”

The book was about fasting, written by a well-known faith teacher. “How could a book about fasting invoke such an enthusiastic response, especially from Roberto?” I silently muttered. “At least he’ll stop acting like he’s going to starve to death during our fast.”

“Look, man.” He opened the book and held it right in my face. I wondered what was in it that had “set him free.”

“I used to think fasting was important,” he explained to me, “until I read this book. Now I’m free!”

Now I got it. He was freed from fasting. The premise of the book was that fasting was an Old Testament way of getting God’s attention. That was law. This is grace. All we do now is “speak the word of faith.” No need to travail. No need to persevere. Forget Luke 11 and the principle of asking, seeking, and knocking. Forget Luke 18 and the parable of the persistent widow. No need for extended times of intercession. “Just use your faith and confess the word, brother, and all your mountains will move.”

Well, I’ve been set free, too. Not by Roberto’s book, but by the truth of God’s Word. Not free from fasting, but free to fast. Set free from the “stomach god” that Paul mentioned in Philippians 3:19.

Here’s what Jesus said about fasting:

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Notice the word in this passage: when. Jesus seems to assume His followers would fast. He didn’t say: “If you guys ever happen to fast…” He said: “When you fast…”

Thousands of Every Nation people start each year with a week of prayer, fasting, and consecration. During the fast, many churches have morning, noon, and nightly prayer meetings each day. God’s Word promises a reward to those who fast. The following are a few of the rewards people reported during a recent week of fasting.

“Today, I received the largest purchase order in the history of my business.”

“Before, I couldn’t open my mouth all the way. Now my jaw is completely healed!”

“Someone called my wife and said that God had spoken to them to pay the whole amount of our Couple’s Retreat registration. Then, the next morning another person said God told them to give my wife some cash.”

“All my life I’ve been afraid of small, dark, enclosed places. Tonight, I was the last one to leave the library on my campus. Normally, I would be terrified in that situation. No more! I’ve been delivered from claustrophobia.”

“I’m in the process of raising my support to be a missionary overseas, and last night, someone I didn’t even know approached me after the prayer meeting and said he would pay for my whole airfare.”

These are just a few of the tangible rewards people received during our fast. There were many more physical healings and financial provisions. More than that, there were countless spiritual breakthroughs. May we all declare war on the “stomach god” and, unlike Roberto, be set free to fast.

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FINE PRINT BELOW:

1. This is an edited version of an Evangelicals Today article written fifteen years ago and  posted as a blog in 2004.

2. We encourage only healthy adults to fast. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not fast. If you have any medical condition, you should check with your doctor before fasting. If you are a minor, you should only fast with parental permission. 

3. I am having visions of Five Guys fries visiting me at night.

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